Indiana, Pa., road rage suspect too ill for trial? — (The Post-Gazette)

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The Post-Gazette

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

By Tom Gibb, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

INDIANA, Pa. — An Indiana County man charged with wounding a pregnant teenager five months ago during an explosion of road rage is too sick mentally to stand trial, according to a report by a defense psychiatrist.
Indiana County District Attorney Robert Bell said he wants his own evaluation done before deciding if defendant Thomas Mock, 42, indeed is unable to stand trial.
Mock, in Indiana County Jail awaiting a yet-unscheduled trial, faces more than 20 years in prison for charges topped by attempted homicide, the outgrowth of a chase down a winding Indiana County road in June.
The episode began with Mock, in a pickup truck, driving down a road not far from his Black Lick-area home, tailgating a subcompact car carrying four teenagers and firing a .357 revolver out his truck window.
One of those shots hit Joanne Lowman, 16, in the head as husband Josh Lowman sat beside her, trying to stay ahead of Mock in a chase that witnesses said hit 70 mph.
The woman survived with only a moderate head wound, doctors pulling the bullet from her skull a month later.
Testimony at a preliminary hearing in July did not explain any flash point that led Mock to chase the car. But defense lawyer Thomas Ceraso suggested that Mock — married, father of a young daughter and a delivery driver for a food firm — may have lost touch with reality as an effect of blood pressure medications and antidepressants he was taking.
Yesterday, Ceraso refused to reveal the diagnosis offered when Mock was examined at the prison by Pittsburgh psychiatrist Dr. Stuart Burstein. But that report, recently completed and newly delivered to the district attorney, indeed shows Mock as mentally ill, Bell said.